Thelma Tillery


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Updated: Tue, 27 May 2014 02:47:02 CST

Thelma L. Tillery, 93, of Kearney died Monday, May 26, 2014 at Good Samaritan Society – St. Luke’s in Kearney.

Funeral service will be Thursday at 9:30 a.m. at Faith United Methodist Church in Kearney. Rev. Robert Perry will officiate and burial will be at Fairview Cemetery in St. John, KS at 3:00 p.m. Visitation is planned Wednesday from 5:00 – 7:00 at Horner Lieske McBride & Kuhl Funeral and Cremation Services in Kearney or prior to services Thursday at the church. Memorials are suggested to the Alzheimer’s Association, Great Plains Chapter. A message of condolence, tribute or memory can be left at Horner Lieske McBride & Kuhl Funeral and Cremation Services in Kearney are in charge of arrangements.

Thelma was born on August 27, 1920 at Highland Hospital in Denver as Margaret Jane
Ryan. Her adoptive parents, Julius and Hazel Keen, raised her in the Amarillo and Dalhart, Texas area until she was 15, when she joined family in Stafford to finish high school. A graduate of Stafford, Kansas High School, she was a long time resident of St. John, Kansas where she raised her sons, Richard L. Tillery and Ronald D. Tillery.

She was a member of the First United Methodist Church and several women's clubs,
including the Business Professional Women’s Association. Thelma was the bookkeeper at Hobson Chevrolet - later sold to McClusky Chevrolet - in St. John and received recognition by the Chevrolet Motor Division numerous times for her flawless performance.

Thelma moved to Wichita in 1966 after Ron entered the Air Force eventually joining
the accounting department at Pizza Hut’s corporate offices. She was eventually promoted to be Pizza Hut cofounder Dan Carney’s executive administrative assistant.
After retirement she moved to Kearney, Nebraska to be nearer her son Ron Tillery. In Kearney she attended Faith United Methodist Church.

During retirement, Thelma enjoyed gardening, spending time with her close friends
and also, following her adventurous spirit, skydiving in Kearney at the age of 85, which made national news including coverage by CNN and in Time magazine. She was a devoted volunteer especially committed to Meals On Wheels, making deliveries well into her 80’s. Thelma was honored to attend a White House Christmas Party with her son Richard and met Hillary and Bill Clinton, and also danced in the East Ballroom of the White House. Proud of her Irish heritage, she also made a 10-day trip to Ireland in the 1990's, touring the countryside, staying overnight in a Castle and kissing the Blarney Stone.

Thelma is survived by her 2 sons, : Ron & Ann Tillery, Lincoln, NE, Richard & Julia Tillery, Rockville, MD; 7 Grandchildren and 2 Great Grandchildren Ron & Ann Tillery, Lincoln, NE; Richard & Julia Tillery, Rockville, MD, Sean Tillery, Waialua, HI and Holdrege, NE, Andrew & Shanon Tillery, Grand Prairie, Texas, Heather, Justin & Alex Wolf, Kearney, Kristen Korte, Kearney, Melissa Tillery, Towson, MD, Kate, Erick & Ethan Danzer, Superior, CO, Rick and Catherine Tillery Superior, CO.

She was preceded in death by her parents Julius H. and Hazel Keen and an infant son, who died shortly after birth.

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Born: August 27, 1920

Death: May 26, 2014

Memorial donations may be made to: 
Alzheimer's Association, Great Plains Chapter

This memorial provided by:
Horner Lieske McBride & Kuhl